Meal Plan: Josh Perez
Americano's executive chef names his 5 favorite Bay Area meals
Coffee by the bay. Beer (and a vesperplatte) at the beer hall. That’s how a perfect day of dining begins and ends for Americano executive chef Josh Perez. In the middle? Ramen, Hawaiian cocktails, and a seven-ounce bottle of Miller High Life. For full details, see below.
Breakfast: Acme Bread Company
I’m not much of a breakfast guy, so the thought of sitting down to a plate of eggs and potatoes doesn’t appeal much to me. However, grabbing a pastry from Acme, then sitting outside the Ferry Building and eating it with my first cup of coffee of the day while watching the sun rise over the Bay Bridge isn’t a terrible way to start your day. In addition to pastries, croissants and morning buns, they have an outstanding assortment of breads, baguettes, and rolls.
Coffee Break: Blue Bottle
There’s no shortage of good coffee in this neighborhood, but when I really want to treat myself I head to Blue Bottle. These guys aren’t stoned college drop-outs pulling bitter shots out of an Auto-Brew 2000. These are trained baristas dedicated to crafting truly delicious coffee. If you really want a treat, grab their New Orleans iced coffee. They’re ridiculously easy to drink and wickedly caffeinated. I brought a case of them into the restaurant once and practically had to keep them under lock and key (mostly because I didn’t want to share.)
Lunch: The Ramen Bar
There are few things I find more satisfying than a good bowl of ramen, and fortunately there’s some pretty solid ramen just a few blocks from the restaurant. I generally lean towards grittier establishments for ramen because I have an irrational association with grubbiness and authenticity, so when I heard that Michael Mina was opening a ramen place I was skeptical. That being said, when I want a bowl of flavorful broth with chewy noodles and roasted pork before work (in a meticulously clean dining room, I might add) I hit up The Ramen Bar. There are other options, like poke bowls, salads and sandwiches, if ramen isn’t your thing. Side note: They are one of the few places where you can get a seven-ounce bottle of Miller High Life. Seriously adorable.
Dinner: Liholiho Yacht Club
This is probably my favorite restaurant anywhere in the city. Although scoring a table can be tough, see if you can snag a seat at the bar, have a cocktail, and order everything off the top of the menu. The playful, Hawaiian-inspired menu makes me grin like an idiot every time I’ve been. Chef Ravi Kapur takes seemingly incongruous ingredients and makes magic. The food reminds me of carefree days in the islands … and ain’t nothing wrong with that.
Nightcap: Schroeder’s Restaurant
I usually end up here when meeting up with a chef buddy of mine for drinks. Done up in the style of a German beer hall, Schroeder’s has a pretty large beer selection and a well-stocked bar. In addition, there’s a full menu of German food with a modern twist. I can never pass up the vesperplatte, a board of German charcuterie, cheese, pickles and mustard. And what better way to feel like an adult than having a well-crafted Old Fashion, while eating a plate of smothered tater tots?